Mar 6, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Television broadcaster Doris Burke before the game between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Doris Burke is preparing to call the NBA Finals on ESPN alongside Mike Breen and JJ Redick.

Burke has called the finals on ESPN Radio since 2020, but as Rich Eisen mentioned to her during a recent appearance on The Rich Eisen Show — this is TV. It’s the most significant assignment for her and her career, obviously, but also as a trailblazer for others to follow in her footsteps.

Burke will make history on Thursday, June 6th, as she’ll become the first woman to call a men’s major final on US television.

“Well, thank you for making me more nervous than I already am,” she jokingly told Eisen.

“I’ll be honest with you, it’s meaningful,” Burke continued. “There’s no doubt that that sentiment hasn’t dawned on me. Obviously, what could be better for me if in some way this assignment helps women in some way? There could be nothing more meaningful. And I can’t help but think about so many women, even my predecessors, whether it’s Jackie MacMullan or watching the brilliant Candace Parker work in so many spheres — business, television. All the women behind the scenes at ESPN who love the sport and grind it out. You know, local beat writers, somebody like Caitlin Cooper, who does an incredible job in new media covering the Pacers. If this helps, I am thrilled.

“But what I’ve done my entire career is, what’s the next game I have? And how can I be best prepared and hopefully bring the viewer as close to the game I love? I know how fortunate I am to sit there. And it’s funny, anyone calling their first finals game is going to be nervous; there’s no question. So, I’m gonna try to put that thought aside because that would be overwhelming.

“And Mike Breen, I’ve worked with him for so, so long. Over the years, I’ve heard him tell the story of his first NBA Finals game as a play-by-play. And now he’s iconic and synonymous with the sport, but he’s calling the game next to the great Hubie Brown. And he’s nervous, and whatever’s happening, (they) go to break. And Hubie just looks at him, makes him take off his headset, puts his hand on his arm, and says, ‘Kid, just call the damn game.'”

Burke does not lose sight of the weight of history on her shoulders. Thursday will be a landmark moment that will inspire countless women to dream of a career in sportscasting. At the same time, the preparation and passion remain the same.

When the ball tips, the magnitude of the achievement will fade. She just wants to settle in and “call the damn game.”

[The Rich Eisen Show]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.